Here are a collection of classic hamburger recipes that are perfect for your summer party.
Food & Wine
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Minetta Tavern has become known for its spectacular hamburgers. The restaurant's namesake burger is made with a blend of beef short rib and brisket from the nearly century-old local purveyor Pat La Frieda.
The burger at Tyler Florence's Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco is called Le Grand with good reason: It's a custom blend of ground prime rib, brisket, skirt steak and tenderloin, topped with Nueske's bacon and Cowgirl Creamery's triple-cream Mt. Tam cheese. The recipe is also delicious with a mix of chuck and sirloin.
Many restaurants claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger. Louis' Lunch, in New Haven, Connecticut, is a leading contender. Since 1900, the Lassen family has been grinding its beef daily, hand-shaping the patties to order and grilling the burgers in antique cast-iron broilers over an open flame. The ground beef formula uses five different parts of the chuck; a combination of chuck and sirloin makes a similarly meaty, juicy burger. The Louis' Lunch classic is topped with just onion and tomato, though the Lassens do offer a Cheddar cheese sauce. The version of that sauce here is spiked with beer.
"Although cooking hamburgers to at least 160?--or medium--prevents food-borne illnesses, it robs the meat of its juiciness. That's why I tuck a disk of roquefort butter into the center of each burger. The butter melts as the burger grills, basting it from within. Another key to a really great burger is to handle the meat as little as possible," says Steven Raichlen.
In Saint-Pascal, a village near Kamouraska, the burger topping of choice is Kraft Catalina dressing. Morin and McMillan create a tangy homemade version with tomato, vinegar, paprika, garlic and hot sauce.
At Adam Fleischman's expanding Los Angeles chain, the secret to his burgers is "umami dust," a combination of bonito (dried tuna) flakes, dried kombu (seaweed) and shiitake mushrooms with a pronounced savory Asian flavor. It makes a juicy burger taste even more deeply meaty.
Bobby Flay makes this extremely good barbecue sauce by spiking tomato puree with two forms of smoky chile-ancho chile powder and chipotle in adobo sauce--then adding peanut butter for sweetness. The sauce takes some time to prepare, but by doubling the recipe, it can be made in one large batch and kept in the refrigerator for up to two months.
A great hamburger starts with great ground beef, says David Walzog, executive chef at SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas. He advocates ground-to-order beef with at least 20 percent fat content, seasoned generously with salt and pepper. "After that, it doesn't need much else," he says--just a sturdy bun and sauce that won't overpower the beef, like this sweet-and-sour red onion compote. To make the juiciest burger possible, Walzog says to shape the patty gently and make a small indentation in the center; this ensures even cooking as the burger swells during cooking.